Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

As I experience my first Holy Week with the Church, I'm in awe at how much I've missed. As a Protestant, I used to say that I didn't need all the gold & vestments, I didn't need the rituals or the prayers, the altar, the crucifix or even Mary. That was extravagant & merely a "form of godliness without the power". I had Jesus & the Bible & that was enough for me. At least that's what I used to think. I've spent roughly 8 months with the Catholic Church now & tonight is the much anticipated eve of my confirmation.

I attended Good Friday service at my parish this evening. This is the only day of the year that Mass isn't allowed to be said anywhere in the world. The priest & deacon entered the sanctuary in their red vestments & prostrated themselves at the altar for a time. We had the readings & another "Passion Play" where a lector, the priest & deacon interact with each other and us. We had prayer called the General Intercessions where the priest sang & the deacon called for us to kneel & stand, kneel & stand over a course of time... 10 times in all. At first it felt kind of funny, but it began to feel more reverent as we went along. Then the deacon went to the back & a couple guys from RCIA carried an empty wooden cross up the center aisle behind him. The deacon cried out three times "Behold, the wood of the cross!" It was fixed into a stand at the foot of the altar & the deacon & priest stood on either side to keep it stable. We were invited to venerate the cross & the congregation began filing out of their seats. Some people kissed it, some knelt, some bowed. I got on my knees, took hold of it with both hands & placed my head against it briefly. I wished I could've stayed longer, but it was sort of a cattle procession, so I went on my way & fell apart in the pew. After that was communion (with bread only, consecrated the night before) & we were dismissed in silence.

I can no longer say I don't need the symbolism embodied in the outward adornments. Its these very things that've helped me catch a glimpse of just Who Jesus is, what He's done & why I follow... Its these very things that've helped me remember who I am... I'm part of the Body of Christ & He is in me...

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